Judy Porter and Gary Cromer
Judy Porter and Gary Cromer live in Urbandale, Iowa. Judy previously worked in hospice care for 23 years as a social worker, caring for patients and families, supervising social workers, and training hospice staff. Though currently retired, Judy continues to work and train social workers when needed. In 2015, through Judy’s connection to hospice work , Roberta Spencer introduced them to the Road to Hope (RTH) program. After viewing the film, Road to Hope, Judy and Gary decided to become sponsors. They first sponsored Morris in secondary school and in vocational school where he studies motor vehicle mechanics. He now works as a mechanic in Hoima district (Western Uganda). For Judy and Gary, seeing how the RTH program helped Morris reach his full potential throughout his education and beyond was incredibly meaningful to them.
After Morris’ educational journey gave way to successful business beginnings, Judy and Gary sought out another opportunity for sponsorship. They now support Sanyu who, along with her sisters, helps support her mother. Sanyu is currently thirteen and dreams of continuing her studies to become a doctor. She says, “I have hope that after my studies I will travel all countries treating people – I hope to be an international doctor.”
Judy and Gary state that their favorite part of sponsorship is the relationship they are able to build with the children. They are able to communicate with Sanyu by exchanging letters. Those letters allow Sanyu to share her gratitude for Judy and Gary’s support, as well as details like her favorite color and updates with her family and schooling. Judy and Gary enjoy hearing of her academic progress and her expressions of joy, faith and love she shares in her letters. They celebrate the fact that her holistic well-being is cared for. RTH provides support beyond educational assistance, involving her family members and providing for her physical, emotional, and social needs as well. In her letters, Sanyu has described what her connection with Judy and Gary truly means to her: “I promise I will be one of those children who have hope to know how to make a better world…I want to be with love and care to others as you have done for me.”
When asked about how it feels to be a sponsor through RTH, Judy said, “I do it because my heart is filled with gratitude and happiness to be able to be involved as a sponsor. Being a sponsor is about opening your heart to give and receive. It’s a beautiful opportunity to love and be loved back. We’re sponsors because we know that we’re making a difference in someone’s life and consequently in their family’s life.”